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GBR's Gimson and Burnet eye Euros and Worlds double in Nacra 17

by British Sailing Team 15 Nov 2021 15:11 GMT 16-21 November 2021
Nacra 17 Silver for John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

The 2021 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships! It's off to the Middle East for this one - Oman Sail are hosting the event at Al Mussanah Sports City, just north of Muscat in Oman. Racing starts on Tuesday November 16 and concludes on Sunday November 21.

Who's competing?

The British Sailing Team is fielding just three teams across the three classes. Tokyo 2020 silver medallists and reigning European champions John Gimson and Anna Burnet will look to add another world cup to their trophy cabinet in the Nacra 17, while in the 49er class Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas will be joined by James Peters and Fynn Sterritt. Keep an eye out for former British Sailing Team member and Rio 2016 Olympian Sophie Ainsworth, who's teamed up with young Brit Eleanor Keers in the 49erFX.

What's the lowdown?

As teams take a breather after Tokyo 2020 and with Covid still causing travel issues, all three fleets will be heavily reduced at this regatta. That said, each class still contains some heavy hitters, so it will by no means be an easy ride to the top. All eyes will be on Nacra 17 pair John Gimson and Anna Burnet as they look to round off a stellar season with their second world title. The 2019 world champs bagged a silver at Tokyo 2020 then followed it up by winning the Euros in September. In the 49er, Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas will look to emerge from the shadow of training partners Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists. They will have stiff competition from James Peters and Fynn Sterritt, who return to Olympic class racing having had a couple of years away working in the real world after missing out on Tokyo 2020 selection to Fletcher and Bithell.

The event website will publish results as they happen: 49er.org/event/2021-world-championship

What they say

John Gimson, Congleton, Cheshire: "We've done a couple of days of shakedown out here in Oman blowing away the cobwebs and we're definitely quite rusty. We had intended to have a break from Nacra sailing until January but we couldn't miss the opportunity to race at the Europeans and here at the Worlds. There's been so little racing in the last year due to the global pandemic, and we need to stay race sharp because Paris 2024 is not that far away. It's a great venue, with light tricky offshore winds which are conditions we particularly wanted to practice in. We're excited to get racing."

Jack Hawkins, Truro, Cornwall: "Well, we are here in Oman for the first Worlds after the Olympic Games. After supporting Dylan and Stu the last few years they have now left us to it. Pretty big shoes to fill, but we have got this. Feeling confident, excited and ready to go."

James Peters, Hayling Island, Hants: "It's great to be back racing with Fynn again in the 49er. We've had a couple of years away sailing other classes and developing other skills. For both of us our passion lies in Olympic class Sailing and there's nothing we'd rather be doing right now. This cycle is super exciting for us. Last cycle we proved we can win major regattas but now it's all about winning selection and bringing home more medals for GB at Paris 2024. It was inspiring watching the team put in such a great performance in Tokyo and the desire is there to repeat this in Paris.

"This event is the perfect opportunity for us to calibrate where we sit with progress towards that goal after a few months back in the boat. It's early days to be honest and we've had a few sobering moments where you realise how polished you were before stopping. We've definitely gained perspective on what we do, how good we can be at it and what it means to us. Having said it's early days, we want to prove we have made progress and got back to somewhere close to our best in the short space of time we've had. The venue is interesting, typically light/medium winds and a hot climate. There's a reduced fleet to but still plenty of good teams here in the 49er."

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